When Crisis Hits

Many types of crisis… lost job, marriage problems, financial
disaster, death of a loved one… or you’re on your roof waiting for
a helicopter in a flood.

THERE’S ONE PROMISE WE GET IN THE WORD OF GOD. THERE WILL BE CRISIS. STORMS HAPPEN TO EVERY LIFE. DISCIPLES WERE IN A TERRIBLE STORM … WHO PUT THEM IN THE BOAT? JESUS DID…

WERE THEY OUT OF GOD’S WILL ?? NO. BAD STUFF HAPPENS TO GOOD PEOPLE. MOSES. RED SEA. TRAPPED! WAS HE NOT LISTENING TO GOD? NO - PERFECTLY - PART OF GOD’S PLAN.

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. NOT TRUE.

WHEN CRISIS HITS…HERE’S A FEW THINGS FOR ALL OF THOSE CASES.

 
 

Winning the Asymmetrical Battle of Fear

I first heard the term “Asymmetrical Warfare” while in Southern Lebanon with the Israeli Defense Forces in early 2006. It described the battles that were raging with Hezbollah and its terrorist allies. We drove through active battlefields, saw missiles hit Haifa and learned first hand the nature of this type of warfare. I was directing a documentary.

Early one evening, my crew and I arrived at a home that had just been hit by a Katyusha rocket randomly fired into Israel. It was a Christian Arab family that had just sat down for dinner. The rocket hit in the hallway, exploded through the walls and put a piece of glass through the neck of the oldest daughter – she was 15 years old. She did not survive.

The rocket hit in the hallway, exploded through the walls and put a piece of glass through the neck of the oldest daughter – she was 15 years old. She did not survive.

The medical teams had just wrapped up her body and were putting her in an ambulance. The father and mother were beyond words, in massive distress – the other two children sobbing in anguished gulps they could not control. I hugged the father, there was nothing to say. His shirt was torn, covered in blood. His brother arrived…we stepped back. Heavy, tragic moment.

The next day in Nazareth I visited a family whose two young boys had been hit by a missile strike as they ran to a bomb shelter two days earlier. They were brothers, six and eight years old. Like little boys, they had stayed out too long, playing after the sirens began to warn the village. It was random, missiles fired without a target, designed to bring fear.

We sat on chairs across from the family with other mourners. We were offered something to drink. And, we sat. Silent in our mourning. Photos of the two precious boys were in frames on a plastic chair. There was an occasional tear and heaving chest by one of the ladies opposite us. We sat for an hour, silent, in remembrance of their sons. Many others came and went. The local mayor brought food and finances for the family. We left silently, respectfully. A scene that has been repeated from Nigeria to Bali.

It was a random event. That’s what asymmetrical is – it means, “without predictable order” – random. And that is the nature of fear. It’s evil. And unpredictable.

When the terrorists attacked Paris, tragically killing 130 people, it brought an entire nation to a standstill. When the San Bernardino terrorist attack happened it stopped an entire city of millions of people. Fourteen people died, dozens were wounded. Schools were locked down, public offices closed. Police departments and thousands of officers went on alert. Because it was random. There was no logic to shooting up a nightclub or shooting people in a Christmas party – it’s not predictable. And, your own family was hit with deep fear.

That is the power behind terrorist activity. You just don’t know. So, fear is allowed to imagine every kind of evil your mind can think of. We imagine perhaps there are dozens of other terrorist cells ready to attack city halls, or malls or whatever our minds can conceive of. And, millions of people are numbed by fear, panicked, hearts gripped by the actions of a few.

Fear and accusation are two of the greatest tools of the enemy. Fear has great power. The power of fear is rooted in negativity. That what we fear, could actually happen. Negativity is part of who a man is naturally…we are negative by nature. The conversion process of knowing Christ, having our minds renewed is what changes our thinking from negative to positive.

It is why in political elections we see the majority of advertising and speeches are negative. Because we easily believe the negative. When one candidate goes “negative” it means he’s really hitting hard, and attracting the most attention. Negative talk resonates with the unsanctified heart. That’s why gossip and rumors travel so fast…it’s negative resonance.

Jesus said in Luke 21, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Expectation, imagination, confusion, fear.

Men’s hearts will stop, because of fear – and what they expect will happen. Without the foundation of the Word of God we are like leaves in the autumn, blowing wherever the winds of fear may go or come from… asymmetrical…random…scary…deadly.

When fear stops a man’s heart, he doesn’t go after his dreams, he doesn’t fight, he doesn’t show up, because in his mind – he’s already lost! He is neutralized by fear. Paralyzed by panic.

Now, read the entire Romans 8 out loud! It says, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Here’s the active power of love from our heavenly Father – BOOM, defeating fear!

And there’s more, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We don’t have to live in fear!! Paul told his young pastor Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear. But of power, love and wisdom.”

Now, let me share something with you that sounds counterintuitive…but, give this a moment of thought… practice this and it will release fear from your life.

The opposite of fear is faith – but, the explosive action that comes from faith is – generosity. Faith is built on love, faith built on love produces grace, and grace is the essence of generosity.

It’s very clear, Isaiah 32 says, “The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil. They plot crooked schemes. They lie to convict the poor, even when the cause of the poor is just. But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.”

GENEROSITY GIVES OUR LIVES A FIRM FOUNDATION.
WE STAND STRONG IN THE MIDDLE OF STORMS WHEN WE LIVE A GENEROUS LIFE.

God was generous when he gave us his son. “God so loved the world, that he gave…” and the result of that love is our faith, and the outworking of faith is grace – and the outward sign of grace is a generous heart. Generous people are filled with grace, empowered by love and living in peace.

Generosity is an outworking of grace, grace the result of faith and faith is established in love. If we truly love God, and want a larger life, stronger heart and to be filled with steadfastness – then we must be generous with our time reading the Bible, generous in our times of prayer, generous in our love of others, generous with our finances and time. Generosity destroys selfishness and selfishness is the breeding ground of fear. When we care only about ourselves, fear becomes viral.

What does that mean to become generous in every area of our lives? In her wonderful new book, “Forty Days of Decrease” my wife’s dear friend Alicia Britt-Chole asks the questions – what if you fasted negative talk for forty days? What if you fasted from gossip or selfishness?

What if your words to others were always full of grace? What if you consistently spoke well about others? What would happen if your heart was always thinking the best about your children, your friends – your wife? Wow, so good!

The Bible commands us to think on the positive – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” It’s about your thinking…your thoughts are what build your life.

Here’s a great example – have you ever had a song stuck in your mind? You sing it for hours, then it starts to bother you… how do you get rid of that song? You replace it with another song. How do you get rid of negative thinking? Replace it with faith, the word, generous thoughts, generous actions – loving others, helping others, giving liberally to others – defeating the core of selfishness that so easily comes over us – and breeds the virus of fear. Replace fear with faith.

Fear comes at us from many directions…we may be doing great in most areas of our lives – then, our largest client decides to change suppliers – we are gripped with fear…what will happen?

We see our children go through their learning times – and we respond with negative apprehension. We hear about wars across the nations, and we wonder what will happen to our future…don’t think on those things. It doesn’t mean to ignore them, just put them in proper perspective. Jesus said, “Fear not, for I have overcome the world!”

Love produces faith, faith gives us the power of grace and grace produces a generous heart. Full of faith, love and hope – and abiding in peace.

Your life will not be shaken by the asymmetrical attacks of the enemy – because you’re ready no matter what happens! You’ve built a strong foundation of generosity and grace. You won’t be shaken, you won’t stop your forward movement, you will win – because Christ has already obtained the victory – and that is what your heart has embraced! Life!

David said in Psalm 46, “The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge!” The Bible is a book filled with hope for you and your family. And, for every man we rescue!

God told us, “perfect love cast out all fear.” The generosity of our Father in Heaven, because He loved us – sending his Son to pay the price for our sins. That generosity established a “NO FEAR” zone around our lives. We do not have to accept fear, no matter where it comes from.

Be generous, stand strong – and do not fear.

Don't Overlook this Key to Success

A new year brings time for reflection and new perspectives. New dreams, a fresh start. Pastor Matt Barnett said, "Don’t have dreams of achievement but dreams of maximum effort wherever God puts you."

We often build dreams or visions that don’t connect to reality. Or, we limit our dreams by our past disappointments. But each of us can move toward maximum effort no matter where we are.

God is about things that are new. He is an ever-creative Father. Lamentations says, “The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies are new every day.”
 
God created time for us. He didn’t need a new year, but he understands that we need times to refocus our lives.
 
How would you like 2016 to finish? What does this year’s story of your life look like? Where will that story land this December? Take that story and start the first sentence this week. One word. One small action.
 
Here’s a key that will help you roll out a great year. It’s a simple truth, but profound.

What you feed grows stronger.

What you practice each day of this year will build what your life looks like at year’s end. Seemingly small decisions about spiritual health, community, personal accountability.
 
What you practice actually reshapes your brain, your thinking and your responses. Stress doesn’t make a man, it only reveals a man for who he really is.
 
Create an atmosphere of behavioral response. Read Proverbs every day. Get to church at least once each week. Regularly. Pray during quiet times, pray with your loved ones, pray with your community.
 
Then, do it again, and then again.
 
Your life is not about your present circumstances. They will change. How you conduct your life throughout the circumstances comes from developing and practicing spiritual habits that connect with God… habits of Godly response…
 
Whether you’re following Man United or Sao Paulo or the Green Bay Packers, champions are not made in the middle of the game, but in the middle of practice for the game.
 
It’s not the “will to win” that brings victory. Every team wants to win. It’s the willingness to prepare to win that leads to victory. Robert Barriger says it best: “Preparation is proof you expect something to happen.”
 
Feed your faith, feed your soul, feed your hope. What you feed will grow stronger. Don’t feed bad habits or bad attitudes. Feed what makes you stronger.
 
God said in Revelation 21, “Behold I make all things new.” Hold onto the promises of His Word, feed your faith—and launch this year strong.

Seven Habits of Highly Successful People

Traveling the world for over forty years in business, ministry and compassion works, I’ve met thousands of highly successful men. A few have captured my attention by their ability to influence and lead people simply by the largeness of their life. Their success was not based on their position or popularity, those were just results of their influence.